Interview with Colin Reed

Published 2015-02-21.
What are you working on next?
Catching up on and re-writing everything that has been written but unpublished to date, including new stories, new ideas. Reviewing my first book, 'Jimmy Bucklesmith' and writing a second part to it.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
......I usually need the bathroom, then a vision of well-done toast gets me dressed and into the kitchen.... In the head, there is little difference between 6am and 6pm, so inspiration is a kinda permanent state.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Living, I suppose. We all have to do it. Being part of my family. Writing is a small percentage of the time. Thinking and observing is a large percentage of the time. I've been a builder so am always on hand to mend a leak in the roof etc. I enjoy working in wood and there's usually a project to be undertaken. Walking in the fresh air; studying the way the family had developed over the last few hundred years and sympathising with the blood, sweat and tears of the generations and their contemporaries. Occasionally eating Pontefract cakes.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I'm afraid I read little (once I never had a book out of my hands and almost lived in the public library). Times are different but living takes up the biggest majority of your time. Smashwords is ebooks to me, they're the same word. I scroll the latest books usually on my phone cos you can do that while at work or eating a slice of toast (life demands multi-tasking if you are to get anywhere in it). I look at the book descriptions and occasionally download a sample for reading later. It's hit and miss and I probably miss more than I hit. I have downloaded, read and enjoyed a couple of free books and I think it's important, out of respect for the author, to leave a review. You can follow that author's path to the books he/she likes/reviewed; prob they're similar to your own likes, or at least some of them are.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No. I have to go back six decades at least.
What is your writing process?
Observe, be aware of observing, scribble on anything available, transcribe if legible to note paper, transcribe to Word, leave for a while,review then, to respect the potential reader, review, rewrite, review leave...etc till content with final copy...which still can reviewed even if published. For stories already written and which have been sat patiently in a file for years, then it's just the rewriting and leaving etc. I want to get it right (which I don't always do) and I want to respect the reader.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No. Parents read and made stories up to their children. Otherwise can only remember mostly frightening religious stories about death and the weakness of the human being with the consequent high price of failure.
How do you approach cover design?
Sis is an exhibiting artist. Nice. Fortunate. Son has software and ideas. Nice again. Fortunate again. We mix ideas.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
With or without the 'u', they are too numerous to mention, but 'favourite? They are the the books that have saved my soul. There's more than five of equal status, of fiction and non-fiction and of many genres.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Not choice; more a question of availability. PC when I can get to it; otherwise mobile/cellphone, if a moment between events allows me the time.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Sill trying. Not my forte. However, to communicate with a single person only via my writing, is a success. Probably writing 'more', spanning a few genres at present has worked for me in my own little world.
Describe your desk
Largely in my pocket (my phone) for research, my eyes and ears and all my senses for observation anywhere. At work, shared, and cluttered with files and paraphernalia. At home, shared with the family PC, sometimes my laptop on my knee.
What do your fans mean to you?
if a 'fan' is someone who has appreciated (even 'liked') my writing, it is someone who shares the same sentiment, which I reciprocate in spirit and respect in what I write.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Grew up pretty ordinarily in a holiday destination town in North West UK. Home life for sibs all, pitted rationality against passion and the need to survive in both parents, rubbing off onto their children. Classic growing up, really. Five years at boarding school in some inviting countryside in NW UK eventually corroded the shackles of expected obedience to collective belief; happiness long time coming after that. Writing is perhaps unloading the magazine of a machine gun of words into the air about you, or aimed at everything that is irrational and that has hurt you, or anyone else, or stood in the way of the honest, innocent and legitimate progress of the human spirit.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I think because nothing else had worked. I live as I write (it seems) so there's often little difference between writing and having a conversation or making a few observational comments. If you talk to one, or a few people, why not talk to the world at the same time with the same sentiments? There'll always be those who might want to stay, those who'll walk away, and those who might want to thump you before they walk away.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Finishing the piece, probably but, during the process, feeling that what I've done, I've got right, whether it's a smile or a tear down the cheek in the process. Most of my writing is direct observation ('names changed to protect the innocent' etc) so I often feel for the protagonist.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest 'book' (the Queue for the Bog) is a short story. Don't know what specifically inspired it; a face, a news item, a related incident at the office 'desk'. I enjoy the contrary nature of language; words share the same society as people - the rough and the smooth live side by side.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is my success at the moment (read 'is' in italics for emphasis. Nice; well done all, and 'thanks'). The road to self-publishing is paved by the style guide. Perhaps there are other ways - but this way has been easy. Beyond that, what is success -the very fact that publishing is possible in the first place? You can relate a story or an incident in your own way, in a pub or a bar and get a reaction. In self-publishing this can be done world wide and reach those who might share or sympathise with your viewpoint (and those who don't).
With Smashwords, once published, there is enough, easily accessible information provided to enable you to analyse the reaction to your presented ideas in book form, which is impossible during the interminable submissions to agents and the centuries that elapse in between. Via Smashwords, you are judged immediately by the people who matter, your potential readers. It is no longer the prerogative of agents.
When did you first start writing?
Always something I've done since I first learned to write. In (technically!) mature years, I read and read and read, and when I believed I had something to say, I wrote and wrote and wrote.
Who are your favorite authors?
Too numerous to mention (and who wrote the Upanishads, eg?). In genre those who have saved my soul and kept my spirit beating with a positive rhythm, or with any beat at all. Carl Jung, certainly, and many of the classics as well as those of non-fiction. Today, those of like mind that I'm beginnning to discover on Smashwords.
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